It's been over a month since we last took our best guess at the Northwestern football depth chart, and we emerged from the Kenosha scrimmage—in which only two starters (Kyle Queiro and Montre Hartage) played—with some new information. Of course, the most drastic change since our last projections is the loss of Keith Watkins II for the season. Northwestern seems at least somewhat prepared, however, to replace Watkins.
Because Northwestern releases two-deep depth charts on game weeks, we cut ours down from three-deep to two-deep, too. Still, as Pat Fitzgerald explained in post-scrimmage media availability, there are things to be sorted out between now and August 29, when we will receive the first official two-deep. It's by no means an exact science.
NOTE: All changes from our last projections are in italics.
|Position||1st string||2nd string||Notes|
|Quarterback||Clayton Thorson (So.)||Matt Alviti (Jr.)||Pretty straightforward here|
|Running back||Justin Jackson (Jr.)||Warren Long (Sr.)||Expect a bigger role for Long in 2016.|
|X Wide receiver||Austin Carr (Sr.)||Andrew Scanlan (Sr.)||Neither played in scrimmage.|
|Y Wide receiver||Charlie Fessler (R-Fr.)||Flynn Nagel (So.)||Neither played in scrimmage; Fessler got more run with the starters on August 10.|
|Z Wide receiver||Solomon Vault (Jr.)||Marcus McShepard (Jr.)||Neither played in scrimmage.|
|Superback||Garrett Dickerson (Jr.)||Jayme Taylor (So.)||Dickerson regarded as the better blocker, Taylor a better pass catcher.|
|Left tackle||Blake Hance (So.)||Tommy Doles (So.)||Neither played in scrimmage.|
|Left guard||Connor Mahoney (Sr.)||Jared Thomas (R-Fr.)||Lots of rotation here in scrimmage|
|Center||Brad North (Jr.)||Ian Park (Sr.)||Park remains out with an injury, so North jumps him here.|
|Right guard||Shane Mertz (Sr.)||J.B. Butler (R-Fr.)||Lots of rotation here in scrimmage|
|Right tackle||Eric Olson (Sr.)||Ben Oxley (So.)||Oxley played at both tackle positions in scrimmage.|
|Defensive end||Ifeadi Odenigbo (Sr.)||Trent Goens (R-Fr.)||Goens has a spot in the rotation; might be room for one more defensive end.|
|Defensive tackle||C.J. Robbins (Sr.)||Greg Kuhar (Sr.)||Kuhar is a high-quality backup; Fred Wyatt impressed in scrimmage, too.|
|Defensive tackle||Tyler Lancaster (Jr.)||Jordan Thompson (So.)||Neither played in scrimmage; Thompson has been nicked up.|
|Defensive end||Xavier Washington (Jr.)||Joe Gaziano (R-Fr.)||Gaziano has impressed this summer; might be room for one more defensive end.|
|SAM linebacker||Jaylen Prater (Sr.)||Joseph Jones (Sr.)||Neither played in scrimmage.|
|MIKE linebacker||Anthony Walker (Jr.)||Cameron Queiro (So.)||Neither played in scrimmage.|
|WILL linebacker||Nate Hall (So.)||Brett Walsh (Jr.)||Walsh looked good in the scrimmage; Tommy Vitale could also see time behind Hall.|
|Cornerback||Matthew Harris (Sr.)||Alonzo Mayo (R-Fr.)||With Keith Watkins II out, Mayo is a primary backup|
|Safety||Godwin Igwebuike (Jr.)||Jared McGee (So.)||Solid depth here; McGee has experience.|
|Safety||Kyle Queiro (Jr.)||Trae Williams (R-Fr.)||Williams moved to safety this offseason, but...|
|Cornerback||Montre Hartage (So.)||Trae Williams (R-Fr.)||Williams can still be used as a corner. Hartage is now a starter with Watkins II out.|
A couple additional notes:
- The wide receiver depth in particular is extremely fluid and can't be read into too much. Lots of guys will play there.
- The depth chart doesn't take into account possible true freshmen that could receive substantial playing time. Good candidates to do so, however, include cornerback Roderick Campbell and defensive lineman Alex Miller as well as any one of the three true freshman wide receivers.